UFC

Dana plays nice with Tito, Shamrocks?

Super Friends? Dana White has no problem with his rivals "crashing" UFC 167.
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Mike Chiappetta

Mike Chiappetta has documented the fast-growing sport of mixed martial arts since 2006 for news organizations including SB Nation, NBCSports.com, FIGHT! Magazine, AOL and ESPN. He appears regularly as an analyst on countless television shows and radio programs, including CBS Radio and MMA Beat. Follow him on Twitter.

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November marks the 20th anniversary of the inaugural UFC event. Given the milestone, the weekend of UFC 167 on November 16 will feature plenty of commemorations of the promotion’s history, and nods to the past superstars who helped build a sport.

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Given his soured relationships with some of those names though, UFC President Dana White probably won’t be extending formal invitations to every seminal figure. Among those likely on the outside looking in are Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture and Frank and Ken Shamrock.

Recently on Twitter, the subject came up when Ortiz invited the Shamrocks, Couture and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson to “crash the party.” Perhaps there will be no need. On Tuesday afternoon, White, calling the group, “the superfriends,” surprisingly said they were welcome.

Only one caveat: they’re going to need tickets.

“They’re going to crash it,” he said. “What are they going to do? ‘Yeah!’ They’re going to come in, sit in their seats and f---ing watch the fight. I mean, what are they going to do? They’re going to crash it? Buy seats to the fight. Come, have fun. Have a f---ing blast, grab some beers, watch the show and have fun.

“It’s like, ‘The superfriends!’ We’re going to come to the 20th anniversay and we’re going to save the world!”” he continued. “No, you’re going to walk through the front door and sit in your seats and watch the fights. Maybe take some pictures and sign some autographs. Good for you, have fun at the fights. You know what I mean? It’s f---ing comical. It’s actually pretty funny.”

UFC 167 will be one of the promotion’s biggest events of the year, with welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre headlining against Johny Hendricks. And while Ortiz, Couture and the Shamrocks were no doubt instrumental to the rise of the UFC, the way White sees it, most of the “superfriends” should have other things to do. But if they want to spend their money to buy tickets, and use their name to bring further attention to a company they’re at odds with, he’s OK with that, too.

“What’s even crazier about it is these guys are working for other people,” he said. “You guys work for other people now. You have jobs. Rampage has kind of stopped talking. He’s moved on. He’s doing his thing. You don’t hear anything about Rampage and I like that. But the ‘superfriends’? The ‘superfriends’ are going to come to UFC here at MGM and save the world.”

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